From Ganesha, Shiva and Hanuman we move to Parvati. Parvati is known to be the most important wife of Shiva. Shiva and Parvati have two sons together Ganesha and Skanda. Together with Shiva Parvati symbolizes the strength to create and destroy. Only Parvati’s presence is enough for Shiva to bring about uncontrollable desires. Parvati symbolizes the marriage and the well behaved wife. She is also the goddess of beauty and often symbolized with beautiful round curves and full features. Parvati, like Shiva is known in many different forms: Durga (the brave goddess) and Kali (the black goddess) are well known incarnations. Parvati has to watch how Shiva easily plays adultery on a regular basis, but he always returns to Parvati.
Parvati represents our longing to unite in the form of a romantic relationship, as well as to unite/connect with our own essential nature, a vibration we can call consciousness or the “mother energy” that holds everything together. This energy vibrates and pulsates and is also called prana shakti or life force. Through the practice of yoga especially meditation we can reunite with the prana shakti in us and around us. We can recognise and see the prana shakti in the cycles of the moon, the seasons, the rhythm in our ocean tides, the cycle of day and night and the sparkle in the stars. In our bodies the prana shakti is experienced with the blood running through our veins, the beating of our heart as well as the continuous cycle of the inhale and exhale. It is that energy that brings about continuous movement in our bodies, conscious and unconscious movements.
Power of the breath
Our ever present breath represents this ‘mother energy’ or prana shakti and is the life force that keeps us alive. Through our breath we can actively influence our nervous system and thereby affect the way we feel emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Our breathing is such a normal, regular, automatic activity and at the same time such a powerful tool in many ways that goes beyond words. It brings me back to that time I was in the midst of giving birth to my first son and the focus on my breath was the only grip I could hold on to. I went into a meditative state is what the midwife later wrote in her report. Luckily I had my mum (an experienced yogini and mother of four) nearby and guiding me with breathing when the moment was there to push. She reminded me to relax my jaws (something I remind my yoga students of all the time, but forgot to do myself in this intense experience) and there he was and he took his first breath! Magic has happened yet once again. In an instant I became mother and my mother became a grandmother. The ‘mother energy’ that all gives us life and keep us living.
Parvati and Shiva reunited
Prana shakti is a reminder that everything is constantly moving and changing. All is coming and going. This realisation is a way to connect with the life force within us. In our patriarchal society, humans often feel more like rocks and we have lost the sparkle in own eyes, we have forgotten about the passions we had as children and we are unable to connect with the flow in us and around us. Being in nature, moving, dancing, meditating and practicing asanas are all ways to connect with the prana shakti. I think the world could use some more softness, compassion and love that comes with a more matriarchal society. In many cultures and countries women are honoured for their ability to give birth. For example within the Maori culture in New Zealand, but also in the old cultures in Europe before other religions took over. It is not without reason that we call our planet mother earth and the connection of a mother to her child(ren) is unbelievable powerful and based on unconditional love. Some say that man might have been intimidated or jealous by the power of women and therefore try to repress this female energy. We all know the saying: behind every successful man, stands a strong woman. Prana shakti or parvati doesn’t imply that woman are superior over man. This female energy (parvati) when reunited with the male energy (shiva) creates a healing and creative magnetic energy in us and on the earth. We all have the shiva and the shakti energy within us. It is our invitation to connect, accept and embrace both of them. It is my belief that this will bring more balance and healing on our planet. When practicing yoga, you can invite both the female (yin, softening, receiving, cooling) and the male (strength, power, heat, yang) into your practice. I truly believe when you can connect with your own true essence or your prana shakti, it is also easier to connect on a deeper (romantic) level with another person and experience union.